Cape Town - On Friday the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) handed its submission opposing the expropriation of land without compensation and the erosion of property rights to Parliament's Joint Constitutional Review Committee. The submission was endorsed by just under 55 000 South African citizens.
Friday is the deadline for public comment on the government’s plan to embark on land expropriation without compensation, with a view to advancing land reform. The IRR has warned that this policy will undermine the property rights of all South Africans, and cause great economic and political damage.
In its submission, the IRR warns that the implications of expropriation without compensation are severe for both the economy and democracy and proposes alternative measures to achieve land reform, which it says is long overdue.
Since the submission was posted on the IRR website on 5 June it gained 12 500 endorsements in the first five days, and more than four times that number over the past week, reaching 54 902 by midday on 15 June.
An IRR team led by project manager Terence Corrigan and campaign manager Marius Roodt delivered a token 10 boxes of endorsements to the secretariat of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee at the parliamentary precinct on Friday morning.
The IRR says its submission is "underpinned by extensive research showing that a future in which sizable numbers of black commercial farmers are assisted into business, securely holding their land, is not beyond South Africa’s reach – provided the necessary conditions are put in place. Property rights are essential to the success of effective, sustainable land reform.
"The IRR believes the huge numbers of South Africans from all communities and all walks of life endorsing its submission reflects mounting anxiety about the threat to property rights and te desire for a more constructive and effective policy of land reform."
The deadline on Friday marks the end of the first phase of its campaign to secure property rights and advance proposals for better policy, says the IRR.
‘It’s been a long process since we started pointing out the dangers of Expropriation without Compensation, and we have now taken this argument to parliament. We believe we are reflecting the true mood of the country and showing the lead in finding a better way for redress and land reform that makes sense. Our submission offers a road to a prosperous future,’ says IRR project manager Terence Corrigan.
Campaign manager Marius Roodt says: "The hand-over today of the submission and the many thousands of endorsements it has earned brings to a close the first phase of our campaign on land reform and the vital importance of property rights.
"The next phase will be an overseas campaign in which two senior members of the IRR will be visiting Europe and America over the next few weeks. We will continue to labour on behalf of those opposed to Expropriation without Compensation."